24-01-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
Nowadays, records are made out of passion, or perhaps we don't even think about it, and a few songs arrive like pieces of a mosaic to fill the epochal void of those who live by noble sentiments.
For those who don't do it professionally, music remains a game, a passion, a way to tell their story and relate to people.
For Piero Verriello, a Malindino by adoption and a globetrotter due to the urgency of his soul, writing songs has always been a way of caressing existence as one does with a beloved woman.
His warm and straightforward voice recalls that of the confidential 'crooners' of our country, from Nicola Arigliano to Fred Bongusto, and his way of talking about love is natural and spontaneous.
It's like listening to him during a malindie dinner, when in the midst of a crab salad and a glass of wine, he picks up his guitar and sings a melody.
It is no coincidence, then, that his latest "homage" (because "uncle" Piero usually gives albums to his friends) could only include his current serene life.
"Afrocubita', meaning African, Cuban and Italian. This is the title of the album.
A former entrepreneur and lover of seaside atmospheres and warm countries immersed in nature, Piero has lived in Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and, without ever forgetting his beloved Puglia, has long since landed in Malindi, which he loves and respects like a beautiful woman... perhaps not a fiery lover, but a friend capable of giving emotions.
To compose his latest compositions, which speak of the places he loves and (if you know him, you know that it would be impossible not to) of the women he loves and desires, he has used a real musician who is equally in love with the Kenyan coast.
Marco "Sbringo" Bigi, multi-instrumentalist and arranger, has dressed Piero's compositions by linking his souls, the Latin one and that daughter of the tradition of the most elegant Italian pop, colouring with the sounds of the keyboard, guitar and flute the stories of life lived that often draw from the author's daily life.
This is the case with the song that opens the disc, "La camminata", which speaks of the pleasure of waking up in Malindi, walking along the seashore and "feeling healthy, alive and happy". Bigi's piano paints an Elton John-esque pop where the lightness of the breeze on the Indian Ocean is absorbed.
But it is in "Il Mare parla d'amore" that the beloved Malindi comes out, with a Latin carpet that unites every south of the world and reiterates the pleasure of living where you can enjoy "the dimensionless ocean between high and low tide" and you can "drink coconut water", because "under the Malindi sun it's nice to spend a day at the sea. It's almost a Cape Verdean "coladera" à la Cesaria Evora.
In "Afrocubita" there is much of the tradition of Italian pop music, where Bigi's class meets Verriello's warm and sentimental way of telling stories, "Con te" reminds us of Vanoni or Battisti's "Una donna per amico", atmospheres that return in "Amico sincero", a song that anyone would like to have dedicated to them by a friend, a life accomplice.
There is also the Latin soul, bandolera, "gigolosa" in the world of Afrocubita's composition: the Cuba of Buena Vista Social Club of "In volo", which evokes "the stories, the music, the people" and the many journeys of a nomad in love who today knows how to sing with the serenity of someone in love and a touch of nostalgia for times gone by. Stories of the sea, of love, of music that in "Si tu quieres" he sings directly in Spanish and that in "Lo sai" he tells in tango time, music of extreme romanticism in which he recommends to his ideal woman "not to miss for anything in the world the show of various art of someone in love with you", as Paolo Conte would have said, and more insinuating and enthralling with beautiful guitars in "Rosa un fiore e un colore". Piero mixes Cuban memories of love and poetry, Italian language and Spanish as if they were rum and coca cola in the rumba habanera "Ninha buena", or a fresh caipirinha in the bossa of "Amica mia".
But the disc closes with the sincerity and elegance of the feeling Piero knows how to tell best, love. Bigi's transverse flute runs through the poetry of verses such as "I fell in love with you when I had dreams to fulfil, in the years of the sky in a room" and "When you are not there, I invent you".
As he asks in "Amami perché", Piero must be loved for what he is, between a walk, a drink and a song in Malindi.
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